My son had an experience with a babysitter awhile back that broke his heart. He had used the restroom and after coming back into the room, his babysitter asked him if he had washed his hands. He told her yes, yet she did not believe him. He kept insisting that he had washed his hands and she kept insisting that he had not. Eventually, forcing him to go wash them again. When I came home he immediately came to me with this sad look in his eyes and let me know what happened. He couldn’t understand why she didn’t believe him. He let me know that it made him feel really sad.
I started to think about how it feels as a child not to be believed. I began thinking back to my own experiences during childhood of being told I was being untruthful and how much that hurt. I can remember feeling unsure of myself and feeling as though my words didn’t matter. I simply was not being seen or heard. After awhile I began to question my actions, my intentions, and myself. When I began to imagine how I would have felt had I been believed, I immediately realized that it would have changed a great deal for me. It would have given me a freedom to exist in a way that I did not feel safe to do.
As parents, this simple act of believing in our children and the things they have to tell us can provide them with a confidence to exist authentically in the world. The knowledge that their parent has their back and trusts them, validates our faith in their goodness and their intentions. It gives them the ability to trust in themselves and their instincts. It helps them understand that they are seen, heard, and safe. By believing in these little beings that believe so deeply in us, their parents, we can provide them with invaluable faith that will guide them throughout their lives.
Take the time to listen to what they have to say and let them know that you have their backs….another gift from the heart for our children.